Importance Of Maternal Bonding
The word mother synonymous to mama, mommy, mum and so on is an important figure that not necessarily gives birth but takes care of all the physical and emotional needs of her child until they come of age. In other words, a mother isn’t necessarily someone who gives life but most importantly helps sustain and nourish life!
Maternal bonding is imperative for mental, physical and emotional growth and according to research, strong bonding can not only enhance a child’s IQ, but build immunity and protect from diseases and infections. A thriving baby is one who has a strong connection with the mother. However bonding is not always instantaneous, it is a process & it develops over time especially for those moms who adopt or have suffered from PTSD or haven’t breastfed or had initial bonding or contact from the time the baby was born. To form a special maternal bond a lot of time, patience, care and love are needed.
Factors That Play A Role In Bonding:
Cuddling/Touching- Oxytocin is the hormone produced with nipple stimulation in breastfeeding that causes milk production, it is also the same hormone produced during lovemaking and orgasm. It is, in other words, the happy hormone also known as the love hormone that makes one feel happy and good. Not all women breastfeed but yet they can have the hormone produced just by cuddling or gazing into their baby’s eyes.
Eye-to-Eye Contact- Closeup eye-to-eye contact can provide meaningful communication.
Vocalising- When a mother talks to her baby in her voice, it is soothing to the child and the child soon can tell the voice of his/her mother from strangers.
Pheromones- These chemicals are responsible for the attraction between the opposite sex. Babies, too have a distinctive scent that mommies can pick up after spending time with them, similarly, a baby to can pick up its mother’s scent.
At birth, there can be many things that delay the bonding process such as fluctuations of hormones that may be responsible for PTSD. Difficult labour and exhaustion from labour, separation from baby at birth if the baby is in Intensive care for example. However all of the above can be overcome with adequate support for example help of nurse with breastfeeding the baby if the mommy has come out of difficult labour. Regular visits to the intensive care to see, hold and even talk to the baby can help with bonding. For PTSD help from a specialist is needed to overcome the PTSD.
Remember bonding is a unique, special & a complex process that takes time and patience & varies from mother to mother. It’s important to understand that bonding can’t be forced and that there is no magic involved for a maternal bond to form. With time and patience, love and care a maternal bond can be made not just between a biological mother and the baby but also an adoptive mother and the baby.
We wish all the mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day! May the bond between you and your child/children remain strong forever!